Source: Obert Madondo

Saskatchewan is taking legal action against Ottawa, accusing the Trudeau government of treating the province unfairly and violating the Constitution. 

The Liberals have sent the Canada Revenue Agency after the Saskatchewan government for refusing to collect the carbon tax. Consequently, Saskatchewan’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Bronwyn Eyre, announced filing an injunction “to stop this unfair and unconstitutional cash grab by the Trudeau government.”

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe echoed the minister’s concerns in a post to X, where he deemed sending the CRA after the province’s bank account was “unfair and unconstitutional.”

Canada’s Minister of National Revenue, Marie-Claude Bibeau told True North that Saskatchewan is a registered distributor in non-compliance with the fuel charge under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. 

“With the adoption of Bill 151, the Government of Saskatchewan chose to step into the role of an assigned distributor, obligated to adhere to the law like any other. The GGPPA spells out the consequences for non-compliance, and the Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed its constitutionality (2021),” said the minister.

The Canada Revenue Agency has pursued collections as required by law, according to Bibeau.

“We stand firm in upholding the law and will continue to deliver the full Canadian Carbon Rebate to the people of Saskatchewan. Our commitment to fairness and equality for all Canadians is unwavering, as we strive to level the playing field and champion environmental responsibility nationwide,” said Bibeau. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suspended the carbon tax on home heating oil in Oct. 2023, primarily benefiting Atlantic Canadians.

“Our government said Saskatchewan families should receive fair and equal treatment,” said Eyre.

Numerous provinces and territories took exception to the exemption, with seven out of 10 provincial premiers and the Northwest Territories calling for carbon tax relief. A Conservative motion passed in the House of Commons in Apr., demanding Trudeau meet with premiers about the carbon tax; he has yet to oblige.

The province stopped collecting carbon tax on electric heat at the start of 2024. The Saskatchewan government stopped sending Ottawa federal carbon levy funds at the start of March. Saskatchewan owns the natural gas utility SaskEnergy, which allowed it to stop collecting the tax.

After ceasing the collection of the carbon tax levy in Jan., Saskatchewan’s inflation declined quicker than predicted. Manitoba experienced a similar decrease following the suspension of its fuel tax. The two provinces saw their inflation remain below the rest of the country halfway through the year, with the taxes uncollected.

Eyre was not pleased with the Liberals’ response.

“One Trudeau minister called it ‘immoral’. Another Trudeau minister said that if we wanted a carbon tax exemption, we should have elected more Liberals. And then they started with the threats. They threatened to take away any rebates. They threatened fines and jail time, all because the Saskatchewan government was providing the same carbon tax relief here that the federal government was giving to other Canadians,” she said.

The CRA initially announced that it would audit Saskatchewan for not paying carbon levies to the federal government at the end of Apr. Despite this, Moe said his province “consider ourselves paid in full.”

Eyre said the federal government is returning to their “favourite move” of attacking bank accounts.

During the Freedom Convoy, Canadian banks froze nearly $8 million held in 206 accounts. These freezes were enacted under laws targeting terrorist and money laundering activities. However, subsequent testimony from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police revealed no evidence of criminal or extremist group financing in the protests.

Saskatchewan’s justice minister said that providing other parts of Canada with tax relief while “garnishing” Saskatchewan’s bank accounts violates the constitution. 

“Section 126 of Canada’s constitution does not allow the federal government to grab money from a province’s bank account. So today, the province of Saskatchewan has filed an injunction to try and stop this unfair and unconstitutional cash grab by the Trudeau government,” said Eyre.

The minister advocated that the carbon tax be taken off of everything for everyone.

“But until that happens, your Saskatchewan government will protect our province and ensure tax fairness for Saskatchewan families,” she concluded.

True North reached out to Environment and Climate Change Canada but received no reply.